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A new way to become a qualified project manager

There are many careers available to those just starting out that weren't around 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago if you consider some digital industries. And the number of career opportunities is constantly changing.

In order to help young people who might embark upon a career which might not exist right now schools and colleges are teaching capabilities that will make a student more adaptable in the future such as how to work in a team, how to think critically and how to solve problems as well as academic subjects.

And for those already on a career path it is very likely that your job now will be quite different once ten or twenty more years have gone by so everyone has to be prepared to adapt to a changing work environment.

Some careers have been around for a while but have seen rapid change in the 21st century. One of these careers is that of project management, which has become more crucial in the project-oriented business world and determines how companies compete and succeed compared to their rivals.

A Modern Profession

Many people still seek a traditional career: doctor, lawyer, accountant, engineer but what is fast becoming apparent is that project management is growing and developing into a new profession.

The specific role of the project manager is not yet be as familiar as the more traditional careers but that is likely to change in the near future now that there is a Royal Charter for the Association for Project Management (APM).

Typically a project manager would have taken a university degree and then taken further professional qualifications to gain recognition as a project management professional and this route still exists. However, there is another avenue to becoming a project manager in the UK that doesn't require a degree and this is through a project management apprenticeship scheme. Apprenticeships used to be viewed as rather "non-academic" choices but now they are viewed as a way to open up more opportunities some of which can lead to degree-level certifications.

The emergence of chartered status and these new apprenticeships means that project management will increasingly become a more active career choice rather than a career of chance. The profession has developed in huge strides since the first PMs started to establish formal PM processes in the 1980's.

It may not be quite so well-established as other professions such as accountancy or engineering but it is starting to become accepted internationally as a real profession alongside the better established professions and, in addition, it provides the qualified professional with opportunities in a range of different industries.

UK Apprenticeships

Because the UK government is committed to developing vocational skills and increasing the quantity and quality of apprenticeships available to young people it is creating an additional 3 million apprenticeships in England by 2020.The funding for these additional apprenticeships is being raised through a levy on large organisations but they can offset the amount due by training apprentices.

The apprenticeship route to becoming a professional project manager will develop the skills required to succeed in any industry. It teaches young people the best practices that have been developed in project management over the years that are most likely to result in successful projects and provides a professional qualification of the same standard as a other chartered professionals.

The Future of Project Management

The UK government's new apprenticeship levy has provided a new opportunity for anyone to embark on a career in project management and gain chartered status. It will be interesting to see how this most modern of professions develops in the next 20 years.

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Stories by Julie Lord